A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.
A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!
There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading
By the Amstel River. ‘Amster-dam’ = ‘Dam on the Amstel’, remember?
We’ve just arrived back in Holland, the breeze is gentle and the rain won’t be with us for two more days. So what better way to fight the jetlag than a ride through the Dutch countryside?
One of the most hit-on posts on this blog is my brief list of Holland’s Prettiest Villages. I decided I’d see how many of them I could manage to ride around in a day. My route took me through Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Abcoude, Weesp, Naarden, Muiden and back to Amsterdam. A respectable 72kms, plus a few where I forgot to switch the computer back on.
If that seems a bit energetic for Day 1 in the saddle, let me confess up front that Mevrouw T kindly offered me use of her electric bike. I know, that’s cheating, but we thought the beast should be tested again, before we take it farther afield.
It was indeed a lovely ride, and the bike’s electric booster left me energy over for photography. Continue reading
Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima on their way to watch the speedskating in Sochi.
Okay, the orange bikes are probably being provided by Dutch taxpayers, and the shot may be a strategically placed PR photo op.
But you have to like the idea that they thought it was a good idea. All it needs now is for the guys in the middle to be holding hands and discreetly waving rainbow flags…
‘Forever’ by Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei may be China’s best known artist. I say that only because I know his work, from the Tate Modern in London and the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney.
I was very pleased to see him included in what’s become for us an unmissable biennial Amsterdam event, Art Zuid. Continue reading
Mevrouw T’s bike was stolen last week.
Pouring rain, a dash into the supermarket, forgetting to fasten the lock, remembering too late, a dash out of the supermarket, a desperate search of the bike racks, questions to bystanders (who naturally saw nothing)…and a long walk home. In the rain.
It wasn’t only the bike she lost, and the just-purchased lunch of Hollandse Nieuwe herring she had in the saddlebag; self-respect and faith in humanity were stolen too. ‘How could I be so stupid?’ was closely followed by ‘How could anyone be so mean?’ and ‘What sort of sick town/society/world do we live in?’
Bicycle theft is falling from its highs in the early 2000s, but is still the most common crime in Amsterdam. I did some research on the figures. Sobering reading.
Filed under Cycling, Holland
Bikes and Cafe Winkel’s Dutch appeltaart. I’m looking forward to both.
Thanks to Mark Wagenbuur’s excellent blog about cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands, BICYCLE DUTCH, I’ve been able to gather some up-to-date statistics on the use of bikes in Amsterdam.
It makes encouraging and inspiring reading. Continue reading
Filed under Cycling, Holland
It could have been worse. It has been worse. But with at least four people dead and thousands of homes flooded it’s been quite bad enough.
New Farm Park. Oswald was here.
One way or another, I didn’t choose the best day to arrive in Brisbane, along with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. Continue reading